US Artillery - Observation

US Artillery Observation - Page Title
OBSERVATION

 

INTRODUCTION FUSES & AMMO
TARGETING FIRE DOCTRINE
FIRE SUPPORT BASES FIRE PATTERNS
FIRE TYPES ARTILLERY TO&E'S

Initial Coordinates
The US observer can pass the initial target by a number of means. For the 'azimuth' methods, the observer's position must be known and plotted by the FDC.

  1. Azimuth as determined by compass or map, plus range
  2. Azimuth as a correction to a previous measurement (the tree is 4000 mils, add 200 to the target), plus range.
  3. Estimated azimuth, plus range
  4. Map coordinates
  5. Shift from a base point, checkpoint, previous concentration, or landmark

Height of the target is important to estimate as well.

Examples:


The observer also passes or requests:
The FDC responds with:

Initial shots will be off by ~400 yards for estimates and 100-200 for map data.

While in the US army, almost any platoon commander could call for supporting fire (though he wouldn't be guaranteed of getting it), in most other armies only the observers, HQ's, and liaison officers would call.

Corrections
The relative position of the observer-target (OT) line with respect to the gun-target (GT) line does not affect the observer procedure in the adjustment of observed fires. Errors are determined in yards, and corrections in yards are sent to the battery or battalion fire-direction center (FDC). The FDC converts these coordinates into appropriate fire commands for the pieces. This is accomplished by plotting the corrections on a target grid and measuring data from the resulting plot from the pieces in order to place the next burst at the point designated by the observer.

In area fire, the observer must select a well-defined point from which to adjust, which may be a well-defined terrain feature or some portion of the target, such as a truck or a tank. For surprise fire, he may select some nearby point, adjust on it, and then shift the fire to the area of his target.

Observers estimate distance by experience or by using a "yardstick" - two shells fired at what should be 400 yards apart. Lateral distance is easy to do using field glasses or a map. All angles are done in "mils" (1/6400 of a circle), for which there is a very easy relation: lateral distance = mils*range in thousands, which is good up to about 400 mils.

Only the part of the mission directions that need to change since last fire are sent in the correction orders.

Combined Observation
If two or more observers at different angles to the target can coordinate, fire can be more accurate and better sensed, since triangulation and error averaging can be used. This seems uncommon and would probably have to be set up before the mission starts. Combined observation seems to be about the only way to get good sensing at night.

 


Courtesy of Daryl Poe


 

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